Alberta Securities Commission
Often, Albertans are told the red flags of fraud but have trouble seeing how investment fraud could show up in their own lives.
A common statement we hear from victims is that they “never thought it could happen to me.” Investors, or would-be investors, lack the insight and are not familiar with the tactics used by fraudsters to gain their trust, offer fraudulent investments and ultimately steal their hard-earned money.
The ASC has created a new resource to help – the Fraudster’s Playbook (titled Don’t be Fooled by Fraud) gives Albertans insight into the seven key steps a fraudster takes to implement a scam, and provides actions they can take at any stage to protect themselves:
· Step 1: Identify potential victim(s) for the scam
· Step 2: Befriend and earn trust
· Step 3: Drop hints or showcase the benefit of an “investment” opportunity
· Step 4: Offer the investment opportunity
· Step 5: Receive money for the investment
· Step 6: Disappear (the Ghosting Act)
· Step 7: Target the victim again (the Recovery Act)
“Typically, our studies show that one in four Albertans believe they may have been approached with a possible fraudulent investment,” says Hilary McMeekin, Director of Communications and Investor Education. “This is of great concern. The amount of money you can lose to fraud can be everything you have – and more, if you borrow money from the bank or against your home to make that investment. Additionally, scam artists prey on those that are vulnerable, which is particularly true when we are going through an economic downturn or pandemic. Albertans need to be extra vigilant at times like these.”
Anyone can be impacted, and the ASC has seen every demographic and age group (young and old, rich or less well-off) and geographic area in Alberta become victims of investment fraud.
Beyond this new Playbook, Albertans can increase their financial knowledge around investing by using the free, unbiased resources on the Checkfirst and ASC websites. There is also a Playbook Quiz for Albertans to test if they can recognize a fraudster’s tricks, which can be found on the website landing page.